I wrestle internally as we wrestle externally with car seats and shopping carts and an empty fridge in need of filling. I never made it to the grocery store. Tiny babies can thwart big plans. So off we go on a misty, gray Saturday to fill what is empty.
We trip our way through the first store. Babe asleep and silent. I hold my breath and wonder how long it will last. I wait and wonder for the peace to break. A pang of hunger, a wet diaper, a piercing cry to end our shopping trip. Something has to give- the heaviness I carry makes believe it always does. I wait for these things in silence and the truth underneath my anxiety is sometimes so silly. I wait in silence for all my anxiety to spill into reality and the one thing I want is a stack of buttermilk pancakes and a thick handled mug of coffee. I want to sit and stare across a table at my love and not be worried about staring eyes and a screaming baby.
We pull out of the stores parking lot and I dare to speak my desire. He turns his brown eyes, the ones I could look into every day from here until eternity, and he says, "Is that what you want? Pancakes? I can do that." I begin to protest. We won't get the shopping done. We really shouldn't- money is tight, ya know? He looks me full in the eyes and I know that when my stomach knots and I bury my heart he is just waiting for me to ask. Always waiting for me to speak my heart straight into his own. He pulls the car across lanes of Saturday shopping traffic and into a greasy spoon.
We pile out of the car and into a booth built for two, but now seating three- just the way our lives have stretched to welcome this new little one. The waitress pours my coffee and I cup it close and breathe the steam. We order and wait and it is in the waiting that the tears spill. The hopes and fears that I've shouldered for a month. Am I doing this right? Those moments when I grope in the dark to be a mother when I hardly remember my own mother- am I making do with what little I have?
I'm reminded over my stack of buttermilk pancakes oozing warm butter that I just have to ask.
Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24)
I want fullest joy. I want joy that spills over onto everyone around me and sometimes that comes from just being honest about what my raw heart needs.
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? (Matthew 7:9)
Father God knows my deepest needs, but oh how he loves it when his daughter asks. I haven't always asked, but I have always received abundantly more than I could dream. I wipe the syrup from the corner of my mouth and breathe deep. Sometimes you just have to ask.
Counting grace again and again- won't you join the counting?